Jacaranda Time: Diagrams of Collaboration – Peer Reviews

Review One - Kurt Campbell

This work (Diagrams of Collaboration) offers a past event (Jacaranda Time) that was
performed in October 2017 as an online experience and repository. The imbricated nature of the data feeds-audio, visuals, texts- come together to offer the viewer the possibility of a 'remembrance' of the live event.

The idea of this digital instrument offering 'remembrance' as opposed to an archive or supplementation is used to denote the activities it requires (modulating sound clips, selecting interviews from the various collaborators etc) to comprehend the sum of the parts. It is true that Websites and CD ROMS offer similar navigation to access or manipulate data, but this project is something more akin to a collection of independent thoughts that escape the gravitational pull of the logic and order of a conventional digital platform meant to document a single performance.

In this work, time does not come to pass, but returns incrementally and consistently as the various elements of the work though finite, offer the viewer a variety of ways to re-listen, re-read and re-position one data stream in relation to the other. The generosity of offering the many voices that were part of the collaboration in a way that is not hierarchical is refreshing and speaks to the idea of a species of democratic collaboration that is elevated to the status of a ‘guiding ethics.’

Review Two - Amie Soudien

“… Even the instruments they were playing, were being constructed while they were playing them.”

Cameron Harris

The interactive digital sonic and visual field Jacaranda Time: Diagrams of Collaboration is an open, discursive space in which an online audience can participate in the intimate space of post-collaboration reflection. As a member of this online audience, after a few minutes of orientation, I became comfortable with the site’s functions and soon found myself transfixed in the continuum of ‘Bird Sound’ to ‘Afternoon to Twilight’, the patter of Crackle Sound, and falling cyber jacarandas.

Mwenya Kabwe’s script, playing line by line, offers those experiencing Jacaranda Time a non-linear narrative with which to join the emotions evoked by its atmosphere. Without figurative images, the highly visual nature of Kabwe’s text prompts detailed imagined scenes of traveling individuals, making their way across a vast landscape. With the introduction of the voices of Mwenya Kabwe, Sonia Radebe, Cameron Harris, Tshego Khutsoane, and Tegan Bristow, these imagined scenes were both augmented and interrupted.

Jacaranda Time offers the online audience many ways in which to experience the interplay and between sound, text, and voice in the defined environment of a website, whilst giving them a sense of the unpredictability of ‘live’ interactivity at the performance at the Centre for the Less Good Idea. In the spirit of ‘Open the Gates’ of this issue of […], the very data informing the collaborative process of the original Jacaranda Time is made transparent.

Although some users of the website may have a limited understanding of the technical details of Jacaranda Time’s processes, the online audience nevertheless continually produces new iterations and variations of Jacaranda Time through interaction and play. While the artists reflect on their respective unfamiliarity with technology, or their delight in the newness of the collaborative process, the online audience is able to share, or in a small way, relate to these processes through the engagement with the site.

It is incredibly appealing to consider the coming together of people and ideas for a second time under new circumstances. Diagrams of Collaboration led me to consider the rarity of ‘reworking’ the core elements of a collaboration to develop something new, on an entirely different platform. In their interview, dancer and choreographer Sonia Radebe reflects:

“The most exciting, and the most challenging part of working with the sound and visual, and text, and movement, was finding the way in which each and every element of these worlds speak to each other. How they speak with each other, and in a few instances, for each other.”

As Radebe’s voice played, the humming, whirring, crackling sounds of Jacaranda Time intercepted and obscured their speech, meeting and finding themselves at odds and in harmony with one another, and I felt happily lost within the intermediary spaces of ‘liveness’ and ‘choreography’. In its entirety, engaging with Jacaranda Time was deeply immersive and affecting, and a pleasure to explore.